I could not be prouder of my Toronto Maple Leafs than I am right now. I, like everyone else, wanted to see them move on, and yes, I'm disappointed and upset at their Game 7 collapse. Still, that doesn't change that the Leafs did much and more this year.
At the end of last season, the Leafs were one of the worst teams in the league. People were demanding big moves, but Brian Burke knew this team was capable.
The only moves he made involved bringing in James Van Riemsdyk, Jay McClement and Leo Komarov. He also elected to stick with a James Reimer/Ben Scrivens tandem in net. These minor moves yielded big results. On top of that, Burke made a minor trade at last season's deadline for Mark Fraser, who led the team in plus-minus this season.
The Leafs proved everyone wrong, finishing fourth in the conference and ninth in the league: big improvements for a young, inexperienced team that stayed relatively the same. Damien Cox of the Toronto Sun wrote an article saying this was one of the worst playoff collapses in history and detrimental to the Leafs organization.
He is 100 percent wrong.
This season was never about the Leafs winning it all—it was about them making the playoffs. They did that, end of story. When they were matched up against the Boston Bruins, they weren't supposed to have a chance. They forced an overtime Game 7.
Boston didn't win because the Leafs collapsed. They won because they're champions. This will never be viewed as an upset victory for Boston that the Leafs gave away. It will be seen as Boston narrowly avoiding one of the worst playoff collapses in its hockey history.
Now we look ahead to next season and the big moments ahead this offseason. I fully believe the Leafs will be a much better team next year.